Jellyfish and Sharks and Octopi, Oh My! Street Murals in Tahiti's ONO'U Festival

Who doesn't want to go see street artists paint murals in Tahiti?

Known more for her NYC graffiti train photography of the 1970s and 1980s, Martha Cooper travels the globe these days in pursuit of street art festivals. Luckily, many cities have one, and the ONO'U Festival has captured her imagination once again.

So lucky us! Our senior reporter on the ground is the quick-witted, eagle-eyed Martha Cooper, who shares with Huffpost readers her fresh shots of the new action here in paradise. She also shares with us some of her personal observations of the artists and the surrounding action, which we elaborate on here for you.

2016-10-19-1476840930-4363688-brooklynstreetartbordalomarthacooperonoutahiti10164aweb.jpg Bordalo II. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

We start of with Martha's favorite piece, an octopus made with garbage by the street artist named Bordalo. "He's a genius! He took the most unlikely pieces of plastic detritus from the recycling center and speedily transformed them into the octopus on the front of what will be Papeete's street art museum and gallery," she says. "Cleverly he used the sawed off tops of spray cans as the suckers on the tentacles."

2016-10-19-1476841173-3996273-brooklynstreetartbordalomarthacooperonoutahiti1016web3.jpg Bordalo II. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

2016-10-19-1476840967-1700571-brooklynstreetartbordalomarthacooperonoutahiti1016web1.jpg Bordalo II. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

2016-10-19-1476841005-498135-brooklynstreetartbordalomarthacooperonoutahiti1016web2.jpg Bordalo II. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

2016-10-19-1476841283-2976978-brooklynstreetartkaloufmarthacooperonouraiatea1016web1.jpg Kalaouf at work on his mural. ONO'U Festival 2016. Raiatea, Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

2016-10-19-1476841578-1487875-brooklynstreetartokudamarthacooperonoutahiti1016web3.jpg Okuda at work on his mural. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

2016-10-19-1476841620-5097023-brooklynstreetartokudamarthacooperonoutahiti1016web1.jpg Okuda taking a break. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

2016-10-19-1476841934-7489217-brooklynstreetartsethmarthacooperonouraiatea1016web2.jpg SETH. ONO'U Festival 2016. Raiatea, Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Seth's Raiatea mural is of a female mermaid-octopus holding a ship. "Her tentacles represent the other islands," says Martha.

2016-10-19-1476842016-6605498-brooklynstreetartmastmarthacooperonoutahiti1016web1.jpg Mast's sketch for his mural. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

MAST was channeling Brooklyn hard in Tahiti, with this shout out to the honeys back home, the subway at Franklin Avenue, and he reconfigured the train lines to reflect the letters of his crew - The Great Escape (TGE).

2016-10-19-1476842092-9427193-brooklynstreetartmastmarthacooperonoutahiti1016web3.jpg Mast in front of his finished wall. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

2016-10-19-1476842204-827335-brooklynstreetartpeetamarthacooperonoutahiti1016web.jpg Peeta. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

2016-10-19-1476842290-3764642-brooklynstreetarthoxxohmarthacooperonoutahiti1016web.jpg Hoxxoh. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

2016-10-19-1476842426-4842376-brooklynstreetartmarkomarthacooperonouraiatea1016web1.jpg Marko at work on his mural. ONO'U Festival 2016. Raiatea, Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Paris-based Marko 93 was one of the most social and generous of the artists, says Martha. "His jaguars are colorful crowd-pleasers," she says. "Marko had a very good rapport with the locals and cheerfully signed dozens of T-shirts for kids who took a graffiti workshop."

2016-10-19-1476842495-5873312-brooklynstreetartmarkomarthacooperonouraiatea1016web3.jpg Marko with fans. ONO'U Festival 2016. Raiatea, Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

2016-10-19-1476842638-4283377-brooklynstreetartmarkomarthacooperonouraiatea1016web4.jpg Marko enjoying the locals, and vise versa. ONO'U Festival 2016. Raiatea, Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

2016-10-19-1476842725-8998797-brooklynstreetartnikomarthacooperonouraiatea1016web2.jpg NIKO & INKIE. ONO'U Festival 2016. Raiatea, Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

2016-10-19-1476842855-5950183-brooklynstreetartjobsabuzzmarthacooperonoutahiti1016web.jpg Jobs & Abuzz. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

"Tribal Pursuit" is the name of this wall by Tahitians Jobs and Abuzz, named after the board game Trivial Pursuit. "The black lines are the Maquesa's cross," Martha says, and "the designs are the contradictions of old and modern traditions from Polynesia such as the 'head breaker' a traditional weapon and tiki, the sea animal because they are surrounded by water." The skull, of course, "represents the atomic tests."

2016-10-19-1476843041-8155824-brooklynstreetartleonkeermarthacooperonoutahiti1016web2.jpg Leon Keer. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

The master Leon Keer is pictured here with his wife assisting. Martha says that these figures are "Painting of robots arriving from the harbor." As usual, Mr. Keer's work blows your mind when it is completed and you are standing in just the right location.

2016-10-19-1476842970-8742035-brooklynstreetartleonkeermarthacooperonoutahiti1016web3.jpg Leon Keer. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

2016-10-19-1476843142-3203442-brooklynstreetartAdnatemarthacooperonoutahiti1016web2.jpg Adnate. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

2016-10-19-1476843937-4566919-brooklynstreetartphat1ladydivamarthacooperonoutahiti1016web1.jpg Phat1 AKA Charles at work on his mural. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

"Charles is painting an Omamao bird endemic of Tahiti," says Martha, "and it is listed as a critically endangered species."

Why do you hear this same story in whatever part of the world you are in today? More importantly, are you doing anything about it?

2016-10-19-1476843997-4136317-brooklynstreetartphat1ladydivamarthacooperonoutahiti1016web2.jpg Phat1 AKA Charles with help from Lady Diva AKA Jeanine Williams. ONO'U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

After the mural was finished, Martha says there was a blessing of the mural. Above you can see the minister in the photo above performing the blessing.

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